Hilton Honors Makes Changes To Their Airline Partners

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Some significant changes will be coming to the Hilton Honors program tomorrow, which I’ve outlined before. Among these changes is that Hilton is eliminating the ability to earn both Points & Miles for hotel stays, in an effort to simplify the program. Hilton says that fewer than 1% of members took advantage of this.

Personally I never found it to be a particularly good value, and I don’t remember the last time I chose to earn Points & Miles for a Hilton stay. I know for certain people it made sense, like if there was a promotion with an airline, or if someone consistently made short stays at very inexpensive properties. So personally this change doesn’t bother me.

While it will no longer be possible to earn miles directly for hotel stays, it will still be possible to convert Hilton Honors points into airline miles. What’s interesting is that Hilton Honors is changing up their airline partners, as outlined by Head for Points. What’s changing?

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Earn 5x Chase Freedom Points Starting Today With PayPal, Chase Pay, And Grocery Stores

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It’s the first day of a quarter, which means it’s potentially time to shuffle around one of the cards in your wallet.

The Chase Freedom is one of my favorite no annual fee credit cards, as it offers 5x points in rotating quarterly categories, for up to $1,500 of spend per quarter. Most people use this as a cashback card, meaning the 5x points really translates into 5% cashback in these categories.

The best part is that in conjunction with the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve℠, or Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card, points earned on this card can be converted into Ultimate Rewards points, and be transferred to the Ultimate Rewards airline and hotel partners. Since I value one Ultimate Rewards point at significantly more than one cent, that’s my preferred use of those points.

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Citi ThankYou Is Offering $50 Off A Two Night Hotel Stay

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The Citi ThankYou portal is available to those who have cards accruing ThankYou points, like the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card and Citi Prestige® Card. At the moment there’s a special promotion that has the potential to be lucrative. Specifically, ThankYou members can get $50 off a hotel booking of two or more consecutive nights when they book by April 30, 2018, and use promotion code CITI50.

Virtually all hotel bookings made through the Citi ThankYou website are eligible for this, including fourth night free bookings, which are bookable online as of last year.

The major catch here is that bookings made through the ThankYou portal typically won’t earn points in your preferred loyalty program. So if you’re just making a normal two night booking, this is the equivalent of a $25 per night discount. Meanwhile if you make a fourth night free booking there’s a bigger opportunity cost, since you could otherwise make a fourth night free booking with the Citi concierge by phone, and you’d eligible for earning elite credits, points, etc., with your preferred hotel chain.

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Piecing Together My Next Airline Review Trip

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As many readers know, I often take trips for the sole purpose of reviewing airlines. After all, that’s what I largely write about, and in turn, how I make a living. Oh, and I also really enjoy it.

I’m trying to get better about planning these review trips further in advance, so that I’m not scrambling to book last minute. I know some of you enjoy reading about the booking process I go through, so I figured I’d share my latest plan, and you guys can tell me what you think (and what you’d change). I’m working backwards on this one, based on my goal.

I’m trying to review every single international first class product in the world, and I’m down to just three airlines — Cathay Dragon, Kuwait Airways, and Oman Air:

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Terrible: Korean Air “Nut Rage” Executive Makes A Return To Her Father’s Company

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In 2014, an incident that occurred on a Korean Air flight from New York JFK to Seoul Incheon went viral. In this incident, a Korean Air executive, Heather Cho (also the daughter of the company’s chairman), went nuts after a flight attendant dared to serve her nuts in a bag rather than in a ramekin. She demanded that the flight attendants get on their knees to apologize, that the plane be turned around, and that the flight attendant who served her incorrectly be offloaded.

Part of the reason this story went viral is because of the tension between big corporations led by the country’s “ruling” families, and everyone else. This was the perfect example of the abuse of power that seems to be all too common in Korea. The Korean Air executive ended up being sentenced to one year in jail for obstructing aviation safety, though she was released after just three months.

At the time there were rumors that she’d make a return to the company, though that didn’t initially happen. Instead her sister has many of her roles, and her sister texted to assure her that she would be “avenged.”

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Review: China Eastern First Class Lounge Shanghai Airport

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I had a long layover in Shanghai, as my flight was arriving from Singapore at around 5:30AM, and I was continuing to Los Angeles at 1:20PM. Upon arrival I made the long trek from my gate to the immigration and transfer area. I think we arrived at the furthest possible gate, and even walking at a fast pace, it was a good 10 minute walk.

When I got to the arrivals hall I stayed left and followed the signage towards transfers. While there would have been a bit of a wait, I was pleasantly surprised that there was a SkyPriority lane. My passport and boarding pass were verified, and then I had to go through a security check, where there was no wait.

At that point I found myself in the departures area of Terminal 1.

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Hah: Emirates To Introduce New SkyLounge On 777X (April Fools’)

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Well, it’s already April in much of the world, and that means we’re going to be inundated with April Fools’ pranks over the coming hours. Airlines love to participate in these, and Emirates seems to be off to an early lead when it comes to jokes for this year. Per their Instagram account:

“Emirates reveals SkyLounge, the most exclusive Onboard Lounge to be introduced on its Boeing 777X fleet from 2020. A completely transparent lounge with unmatched aerial views and unparalleled luxury, Emirates SkyLounge promises window views like no other.”

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Awesome Video: Intern Joins KLM CEO On A Business Trip

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KLM has had a video series called “Intern On A Mission,” which is intended to teach social media interns at the airline (and in turn, us) as much as possible about the airline. For example, last year I wrote about how KLM had an intern test out their new World Business Class on the 787:

I really enjoyed this since it’s always fun to watch someone who is not used to flying business class enjoying the experience.

KLM has just uploaded their latest “Intern On A Mission” video, which is even cooler. I love the concept of this. Specifically, a KLM intern travels with the carrier’s CEO on a one day business trip to Panama. Not only does he get to sit next to the CEO in business class on both flights, but he gets to attend his meetings, and even runs next to him on the treadmill (apparently the CEO runs 10km every morning).

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Weekly Review: March 31, 2018

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The past couple of weeks I’ve just been traveling domestically, and I’ve even spent the past week in Florida visiting my family, which has been nice. I’ll be back to international travel starting next week, which I’m very much looking forward to, after being on the ground for a while.

On the points and travel front, this week we saw a great new sign-up bonus on the Ink Cash Card, Air New Zealand announced that they’re adding flights to Chicago, Singapore Airlines revealed their new 787-10 business class, and much more.

With that out of the way, here’s a recap of this week on the blog:

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Gulf Air’s New Livery Is *Gorgeous*

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A few years ago I flew Gulf Air from London to Bahrain, and they were… fine. There was an onboard chef and they had flat beds, but the whole operation just sort of felt a bit past its prime. Bahrain Airport also leaves a lot to be desired.

I guess all of that isn’t surprising, given Gulf Air’s history. In the 1970s, Gulf Air was kind of a big deal, as they were the airline of Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Qatar, and Oman, and they were the largest carrier in the region. At one point they even flew to Australia. Over the years that changed, as we saw the development of the other states, and eventually the introduction of Emirates Airline, and eventually other airlines in the region as well.

Gulf Air didn’t do a lot to innovate for a long time, and then in 2002 James Hogan became CEO of Gulf Air, with the goal of turning the airline around. That didn’t exactly happen, and then in 2006 James Hogan went on to become the CEO of Etihad Airways (and we all know that didn’t end well).

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